With the summer winding down and college starting up, there’s almost no time to actually pick up the stuff you need for school — you’ve gotta hang with old friends one last time (until Christmas, anyway) and then make a bunch of new friends. Whether you’re a freshman or midway through the five-year plan, these last-minute dorm room buys can make the year ahead a bit easier — and ensure your roommate owes you some solids after borrowing them.
1. Narrative Clip ($230)
Do you always forget (or feel too lazy) to take photos of awesome moments you want to capture? The Narrative Clip is a camera that fits onto your bag or shirt pocket and can take pictures automatically. The battery lasts a couple of days, and it comes with a three-month subscription to a service that stores and organizes the photos you take.
The Narrative Clip is perfect for anyone who wants to remember an event without the effort of remembering to take the pictures. At least you’ll no longer be “that guy” whipping out your phone at the party.
2. OGIO Ruck 20 Backpack ($55)
You need something to throw all your gear into that won’t make you look like you’re still in junior high school. The Ruck 20 holds its own when it comes to looks, and has enough room for your 15-inch laptop, phone, tablet, headphones and everything in between.
3. FUGOO Sport Speaker ($200)
The best way to make your dorm room feel like a home is to create a relaxing environment (or a loud as hell one, if your RA is off-campus). The FUGOO Sport wireless speaker connects easily to your smartphone, tablet or laptop and streams music from your favorite services. The battery lasts for about 40 hours per charge, and can be taken outdoors without the fear of bad weather ruining the party.
4. Plantronics BackBeat Fit Headphones ($130)
For those who need a break from the rigors of nonstop studying or just want to tune out the world during the walk back from class, check out the BackBeat Fit. Lightweight, sweat-resistant and comes with a case to hold your phone while you work out.
5. Amazon Fire TV ($99)
Between classes and homework, it’s tough to make time for live TV. Plug in the Amazon Fire TV and watch episodes of your favorite series and movies via Netflix, Hulu, Crackle, Amazon Prime, etc. Fire TV is easy to set up, and for $85 you’ll still have money left over to buy textbooks.
6. LiveScribe 3 SmartPen ($149)
Pens are not usually considered cool gadgets (they’re not even usually considered gadgets), but we think the Livescribe 3 breaks that mold. It allows you to take notes and have them transfer directly to your iOS tablet or laptop. The pen also comes equipped with a mic in case you develop a cramp in your hand.
7. Logitech Bluetooth Multi-Device Keyboard K480 ($50)
You wouldn’t think a keyboard would make your roommate jealous, but Logitech’s Multi-Device keyboard lets you drop in your smartphone and tablet while it’s hooked up to your laptop. Finally, you can text and write that research paper at the same time!
8. Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 11″ ($600)
The ideal gadget makes you feel that you’re getting more than what you paid for. The Lenovo Yoga2 fits that bill. Its lightweight, flexible body transforms from a Windows 8 laptop to a tablet in a single move, and the battery life is solid — plus, it’s relatively easy on the wallet.
9. Martian Notifier Watch ($129)
Remind yourself it’s time for class with a smartwatch that looks, well, classy. The Notifier allows you to read texts, view caller ID, control your phone’s camera and even help you find your phone when (not if) you lose it. Or, if you can wait a bit, there’s a little rumored product called the iWatch possibly coming this fall.